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Afrospection with StArt Art Gallery’s Gina Figuera and Helen Harris

The Capital’s first contemporary private art gallery, the StArt Art Gallery, opened its doors this year to rave reviews. StArt Art Gallery aims to be a bridge that connects Namibian Artists with their audiences, and through doing so support the growth of this industry. The names behind the gallery Gina Figueira and Helen Harris share here their learnings and lessons from the past year, their self examination from Africa… their Afrospection.

Looking Back…

Q: How would you describe your 2017?

A: For nine months we were just an idea, then there was one month in which armed with paint, pollyfilla, wood and lights, everything came together. That’s when 2017 really came alive. Since then it’s been all systems go, non-stop goodness.

Q: What was something good that came out of 2017?

A: We came out of 2017! So did a lot more important discussions about society and our roles as individuals in our communities.

Q: What challenged you in 2017 and how did you overcome this challenge?

A: When confronted with unsolicited advice, listen patiently, nod and smile and if you must just walk away.

Q: What was your favourite Art in 2017? 

A: In 2017 we loved the work of Laimi Mbangula, Fillipus Sheehama, Nicky Marais, Lok, Kandgenjo, Petrus Amuthenu, Ismael Shivute, Lynette Diergaardt, Barbara Bӧhlke, Elisia Nghidishange, Julia Hango, Marita van Rooyen, Chris Snyman, Elia Shiwoohamba, and the list goes on and on.

Q: What was your biggest health and wellness learning of 2017?

A: Stop, drop and keep on rolling, it’s never too late to deal with what’s been going on. Take time for self care, and also trust in your abilities!

Q: What was your biggest personal development learning of 2017?

A: Starting StArt.

As for the Holidays…

Q: What is your favourite food in December?

A: Galleries love paint, wine, sculptures, wine, prints, wine and gin. This is great for us because we are right next door to the Wolfshack who fill all the gaps we can’t.

Q: What is your favourite Namibian destination?

A: There’s this amazing place on Macadam street, it’s a small little complex that contains boutiques, restaurants, a cafes cafe, a bar and (you guessed it) us.

Just in time for Christmas, the StArt Art Gallery along with their friends and partners will be hosting the Macadam Market on the 8th of December. Find out more about exciting arts, crafts and more on display at this market, by clicking here

Q: What book should we all be reading?

A: ‘Playing to the Gallery’ by Grayson Perry. If you’ve been wondering what all this gallery and art nonsense is then this is the book for you.

Q: Where do you find your inspiration?

A: All around us everyday, the world will tell you what it needs if you’re ready to listen.

Looking Forward…

Q: What is your mantra for life?

A: “Be with art” (actually that was a bit of advice from Hans Ulrich Obrist that we read in another book, he’s the person you should look up if you’re wondering what all the curator nonsense is about).

Q: What is your wish for the world for 2018?

A: In 2018 we would be very very grateful if no one did anything stupid enough to warrant the #menaretrash title. #agirlcandream

Q: What is your wish for Namibia for 2018?

A: That Namibians create and buy more and more art.

Q: What is your wellness goal for 2018?

A: We would like to get enough sleep, maintain the perfect balance of work and social life, generally eat well and do the correct amount of exercise. If we could also please meet Santa Claus that would also be great!

Photo credit: Klara Mudge